PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia kept building its lead instead
of blowing it. The Flyers showed how quickly they learned the
importance of playing with a purpose for all 60 minutes.
One night after blowing a four-goal, second-period lead in an
overtime win against Pittsburgh, the Flyers dominated all three
periods and showed no signs of letting New York rally.
"You just have to keep going and our players are starting to
learn that," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Robert Esche stopped 19 shots for the Flyers, who outshot the
Handzus scored the first and last goals of a four-goal first
period for the Flyers. He gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead off a
one-timer on a pass from Mike Richards.
"We really asked Michal to take a bigger bite," Hitchcock
New York's Mike York tied on a two-man advantage, but the Flyers
took over from there. After the Islanders had the first four power
plays, the Flyers had the next seven. Philadelphia scored twice off
the power play on 12 attempts.
The Islanders failed to score with a 5-on-3 advantage with the
score tied and couldn't covert on seven other attempts.
"The beginning of the end was when we didn't get a shot on the
5-on-3 at 1-1 with your top power-play unit out there," Islanders
coach Steve Stirling said. "It was never the same again. It was a
momentum-killer, plain and simple."
Penalties continued to be a problem for both teams, with 27
combined penalties for 68 minutes called in the game.
With players shuffling in and out of the lineup and players
skating hard to kill of the advantage, Hitchcock worries about the
stamina of his team. He's playing all three lines more than he has
in the past.
"When you have as many penalties as what's going on right now,
it is really hard to keep a rhythm on power play," he said. "It's
hard to keep energy and that's why we use three units. If we're
going to get seven or eight or nine power plays, it's hard to keep
that energy. Players get tired."
Then Handzus scored the nicest goal of the game. He knocked his
shot off Snow's leg and the puck bounced back as his body slid
across the crease. Handzus reached back with his stick as far as it
could go and tapped it in for a 4-1 lead.
"It doesn't matter what the score is on the board. We just have
to keep playing the same way," Handzus said.
After the Islanders were called for interference and a holding
penalty, Gagne scored his seventh goal, redirected from Eric
Desjardins' pass that made it 5-1.
"We started off fast and we kept it up," Hitchcock said.
Gagne has scored a goal in all five games. He said he had no
idea he was leading the league in scoring until earlier in the day.
"It's a little surprising, but it's early in the season,"
Gagne said. "Hopefully that puck will still go in every night. I'm
sure it's going to be tough to do it."
Richards finished with two assists. ... C Peter Forsberg
added his league-best 10th assist on Gagne's goal. ... The Flyers
are 3-1-0 at home. All four games have been sellouts. Four of their
next five are on the road. ... Gagne set a career high for
consecutive games with a goal. ... Flyers LW Donald Brashear was
left bloodied after a third-period fight with Eric Godard.